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Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Jersey Senate Committee Approves Bill to Abolish Death Penalty

Congrats to New Jersey and the many people working there with New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP). They just succeeded in convincing a New Jersey Senate committee to approve a bill to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey.

This news goes to show what can happen when a state has a competent full-time person working to stop executions, or more than one such person, as they have in New Jersey. Last year, the most important major national foundation that funds anti-death penalty work in the U.S. had a chance to provide a coalition of Texas organizations with $50,000 to work against the death penalty, but they chose to send the money instead to other states, including $50,000 to Wisconsin, which has not had the death penalty since the mid 1800's, yes 1800's. It is good to fund anti-death penalty work in states where there have been no executions, but it is not morally defensible to give no funds to the one state where the most executions take place and where at least three innocent people have been executed, Ruben Cantu, Cameron Willingham and Carlos De Luna. For every dollar spent in other states against the death penalty, ten percent should be sent to Texas to help us stop executions in the number one death penalty state.

Ten Percent for Texas.

More from New Jersey:

Legislation to abolish New Jersey's 24-year-old, never-used death penalty and replace it with life without possibility of parole was approved today by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

By a vote of 8-2, the committee approved the bill and sent it to the full Senate, where the committee chairman, Sen. John Adler (D-Camden), predicted it would pass.

If also passed by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Jon Corzine, who opposes capital punishment, it would make New Jersey the first state to legislatively abolish capital punishment since 1976. That was the year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the first revised death penalty laws after striking them down nationwide four years earlier.

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